Quittensirup aus Gautinger Apfelquitten
Having a mother with a big garden has one massive plus: when she’s on vacation I get to harvest whatever there is to harvest. This time it was quince.
When I was three years old, we moved into „the house with the hammock“. I loved growing up in a heritage building. But what I loved even more was growing up in a house with a big, wild garden. One of the first things I remember my mum doing in the garden was getting the thick thuja hedge torn out and plant a hedge full of rosehip and blackthorn, spindle tree and hazelnuts, medlar and cornel cherry. And quince.
While I liked the smell of quince, I never quite got around to liking the fruit. Maybe because the only way we’d ever have edible quince in the house was in the form of Quittenbrot – quince jelly – and that just didn’t fly with my taste buds.
Things have changed massively since. It is true, quince isn’t the most affable fruit around. But possibly the most beautiful inside out.
makes roughly ¾ litre
1 kg quince
200 g sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 litre water
Rub the fruit with a towel to get rid of their fuzzy fur coat. Then quarter and core the quinces before chopping them 1-2cm large cubes. Since the fruit turns brown rather quickly when in contact with air, measure the litre of water into a pot before you start chopping your quinces and quarter, core and chop fruit by fruit tossing the pieces into the water right away. Bring the water and quinces to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes with a closed lid.
There’s different way of straining the liquid. I ran my quince cubes through a Flotte Lotte – a food mill – to get rid of the skins and roughest chunks. Then I strained the juice and puree through a fine sieve and let it drip, drip, drip. You could also strain it through a cheese cloth to squeeze out a little more liquid.
Put the liquid back into the rinsed pot, add the sugar and lemon juice and bring it back to a boil. While it’s simmering without lid on, I rinse my bottles with boiling water for sterilisation – there’re many more thorough ways for sterilising jars and bottles. For small batches like this where I fill the sirup into small bottles and consume it over the next 2-3 months I personally just can’t be bothered. I won’t last long enough.
The quince sirup makes a beautifully fragrant cordial with sparkling water and an ice cube.
P.S.: I made some more surup. And a massive mistake. Somehow, while the quince juice was boiling, I confused the recipe with simple sirup and added a full kg of sugar to 1 litre of quince juice. The next morning I was about to carry the sealed bottles down to the basement when I noticed something odd about the sirup: it wasn’t liquid anymore but had turned into soft jelly. Great.
I ended up getting my mum to give me another litre of quince juice (she makes it in a pressure cooker, which is much easier). I scraped the jelly out of the bottles and melted it in the additional juice before rebottling it.